Significant differences in floral characters are observed between the China tea and the Assam tea varieties. There are variations in the floral characters, viz. length of style and style arm, the number and length of outer stamens; or the size of inner petals. Geographical location determines the time of flowering of the tea plant. In N.E. India, flowering starts in October and continues till February with the peak in November-December. Flower bud initiation in tea depends on phasic growth of the plant and takes 120-150 days from initial appearance of flower buds to their anthesis. Flowering commences early and continues for a longer period in the Southern race of tea. The Assam race has a shorter flowering season and the China race occupies an intermediate position.
In the tropics, tea flowers under a constant day length of about 12 hours. It also flowers under short day conditions of the winter season at the higher latitudes of the Russia (former USSR), Japan and N.E.India. This shows that flowering of tea is not controlled by photoperiod. As regards temperature at flowering time, the range is from near freezing at high latitudes to about 300 C in the equatorial regions indicating that within this range flowering of tea is not thermo-sensitive.
China variety of tea:
A. Flowering shoot B-Pistil, C-Fruit
Assam variety of tea: A. Flowering shoot